Chief John Young
“Specialized Crime Unit”
There have been a number of questions asked and concerns raised as a result of the termination of the 216th Judicial District Narcotics Task Force. As reported in recent articles, grant funds for all narcotics task forces in Texas terminated on March 31, 2006. To help understand its effect and put it in perspective, a little background information may be helpful.
The 216th Judicial District Narcotics Task Force was a grant-funded multi-jurisdictional task force that operated within the 216th Judicial District since 1987. Over the last 19 years the task force had been the primary law enforcement agency to conduct narcotics investigations and enforcement in the cities of Kerrville, Ingram, Fredericksburg, Boerne, and Bandera as well as Kerr, Gillespie, Kendall, and Bandera Counties. Officers from each of the participating agencies staffed the task force along with an Assistant District Attorney from the 216th District Attorney’s Office. The grant funds offset direct narcotics enforcement costs to the individual agencies including salaries, equipment, vehicles, and other associated expenses.
How does the termination of grant funds affect narcotics enforcement in our community? To put it in simple terms, individual law enforcement agencies will be tasked with narcotics enforcement on the local level without financial assistance from federal or state grants. The non-availability of grant funding requires that we re-evaluate how and in what form narcotics enforcement will be put into practice in our local area.
The Kerrville Police Department and the Kerr County Sheriff began planning for this contingency some time ago. Specialized units have been created within the respective agencies to ensure aggressive narcotics enforcement locally. Since narcotics violations are not restricted by jurisdictional boundaries, both agencies will coordinate investigative and enforcement efforts to ensure appropriate enforcement.
The Kerrville Police Department has created a Specialized Crime Unit (SCU) to be the “tip of the spear” for organized criminal activity as well as narcotics enforcement within the city. The unit is structured to support our Patrol Division assisting in follow-up investigations as a result of criminal offenses and arrests. The mission of Special Crimes is to investigate organized criminal activity impacting the City of Kerrville. The primary investigative activity will focus on drug traffickers operating in the city. However, Special Crimes will also be able to assist other elements of the Department, as well as State and County agencies with the development of investigations of mutual interest.
The Special Crimes Unit, being a proactive investigative team, will impact crime in ways similar to the Department’s Field Operations Division’s Patrol elements. SCU will gather intelligence and attempt to stop crimes in progress or before they begin. They will also focus on those crimes that have the greatest impact on the community. Special Crimes is a positive step in the continued maturity of the Kerrville Police Department and will greatly benefit the citizens of Kerrville.